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#TBT Surviving the Splash and Dash Half Marathon

Whenever I see someone rocking a 2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon shirt, there's a bonding that happens.  It's like, "oh, you survived Splash and Dash too. Good job."  The Splash and Dash half marathon has become the stuff of legend (at least, on runDisney blogs and Facebook groups).  While it was definitely a challenging race, I found the way to make the most of it.

BACKSTORY: Around December of 2013, I texted my best friend from college, Andrew and asked if he ever thought about running in one of the runDisney events.  I had finished the Wine and Dine Half the year before and I was itching to go back again.  Long story short, we decided to do Wine and Dine and make a mini-racecation out of it.  This would be Andrew's first half marathon.

When we arrived at Walt Disney World, everything went without a hitch.  We met up at the Magical Express, checked into the room at Saratoga Springs, and picked up our packets at the Expo.  We even managed to fit in touring all four parks over the course of about three and a half days.  However, I was nervously watching the weather.

While having Wine and Dine as a night race was a lot of fun, it made the event more susceptible to Florida weather.  The race was scheduled for a start time of 10:00PM.  My weather app on my phone indicated that at 10:00PM, there was a 100% chance of rain.  So, that seemed promising.

Before the race, we had a great time.  We even managed to snag some character photo-ops:

Before long, it was 9:00 and time to head into the corrals.  Since this was Andrew's first half and he didn't have a time to submit, he was in the last corral.  Meanwhile, I was here:
This means there was about 45 minutes between when I started and when Andrew did.

About 15 minutes before the start of Corral A, it started to drizzle.  But that did not put a damper on pre-race festivities:

Mickey & Minnie were there to send us off!

The fireworks went off and the heavens opened.  From 10PM until the end of the after party at 4AM, it just kept pouring.  You know the kind of rain that hurts when it hits you?  That's what we were dealing with.  Luckily, at the last minute, I threw my running rain jacket in my suitcase, and I was so glad I had it with me.  It definitely helped at least keep my cell phone dry.  The rain also meant that the only character stops were the ones under cover, so they were definitely limited.

Gotta love the country bears



This was about 3 miles in, look how soaked I am.

After leaving Animal Kingdom, there was nothing until Disney's Hollywood Studios.  That's a lot of rainy highway time.  Again, Andrew started about 45 minutes after me, so he got to stand in the rain for 45 minutes before beginning his half.  (I am still making this up to him).

When we arrived in Hollywood Studios, there was a ton of Cast Member support for the runners.  I also got to say hi to some Toy Story friends.
Finally, we made our way to the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  (Does anyone still miss these? Cause I do!)  In these pictures you can really see just how soaked everything was.

See the reflections on the river...wait, that's the race course.


These were stunning, I think I'll always miss them a little.


Finally, we made the turn for Epcot.  As always, crowd support (even in the rain) on the Boardwalk was top notch.  Finally, in the shadow of Spaceship Earth, I crossed the finish line.  Luckily, I remembered to gear check my poncho and a change of clothes...what a difference.
But still soaked.
I knew it would be awhile before I'd be able to cheer for Andrew as he ran through Epcot.  I was following his runner tracking and getting text message updates, so what to do until then...
Nothing like a leisurely ride through Spaceship Earth to relax sore running muscles.

I tried to ride Test Track, but it was evacuated.  It almost never runs in the rain.
Finally, Andrew made his way through Epcot and to the finish line.  After some difficulty meeting up due to his cell phone being waterlogged, we were able to close down the after party.  Because if you're gonna do the work, you get to celebrate right?!

The next morning we headed to Magic Kingdom.  Of course, we had to wait for Andrew to finish blow drying his shoes, because that's how much it rained during the race.

He's totally forgiven me for this...right?

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